Mike Murphy-episode 161
It’s been a while since Mike Murphy has joined me on the podcast. Always provocative, this episode is no different. We talk about Martin Luther King Jr., the late poet Mary Oliver, and we certainly touch on political things as we use Mike’s Friday Rumblings from January 25, 2019, as our springboard.
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Here are the Rumblings we looked at: Rumblings. 1.25.19
1.On Monday, Anita and I watched the movie Selma again and found ourselves tearing up a time or two. Our nation prides itself in having come so far in regard to race relations but in so many ways we’ve traveled a thousand miles to only move but five miles down the road.
Racism is still one of the most divisive issues facing us as a nation. And yet we still see folks justifying its existence by clinging to a selective and narrow reading of both scripture and our nation’s history. There are others who dismiss it all with a shrug declaring “Didn’t we enact all those civil rights laws? I think white folks are at a disadvantage these days. Nobody’s protecting us.”
There is a ‘racist’ in each of us I’m afraid. Sorry if that offends you but I believe it to be true. And until we come to grips with it we will stay stuck in the deep, muddy rut of intolerance.
2.”The shutdown happened because the president — under pressure from partisan media —reneged on a commitment to sign a spending bill the Senate had passed and that the House was ready to pass. Then, during an Oval Office meeting with the Democratic leaders, he said he would gladly own a shutdown… So now the whole GOP is left pretending there is an emergency at the border, and that a multiyear construction project is somehow the best way to deal with an emergency. This is the Republican legislators lot in the Trump era — trying to provide ex post facto justifications for absurd presidential choices….” ~ Michael Gerson is a Conservative and writes for the Washington Post
3.”We write blank checks for war. We just wrote a $2 trillion check for the …tax cut. And nobody asks how are we going to pay for it. My question is why are our pockets only empty when it comes to education and healthcare for our kids? Why are our pockets only empty when we talk about 100% renewable energy that is going to save this planet and allow our children to thrive? We only have empty pockets when it comes to the morally right things to do…” ~ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Member of Congress
She is writing about the moral implications of our national budget. Do you ever think about such things? I do. And it is sobering to do so.
4. “Come, follow me.” Three words that changed my life.
5. Alex de Tocqueville once said and I’m paraphrasing here that ‘if America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great’. Are we at that point? Not yet, but we appear to be making a great run at it. It’s goodness first. Greatness follows goodness.
6. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a prime example of a minister using his pulpit for the sake of the common good and to the glory of God. I’m sure you’ve all read “Letters from Birmingham Jail” which beautifully and poignantly speaks to why speaking truth to power is essential. You haven’t? Please, please read it soon. In the letter, King, among other things, calls out white ministers who weren’t aggressively responding to the racism prevalent in both their churches, local governments and communities.
If you have a pastor who speaks prophetically, in the name of Jesus, into the messes of our day and age make sure you lobby the board for a nice pay raise for him/her.
“Oh”, some might say, “our pastor never speaks into the issues of the day. He/she just talks about Jesus and what’s in the Bible.” Really? How does that work? Does he/she ever apply scripture to everyday events, things that are actually in the public consciousness?
Perhaps we are guilty of embracing a gospel that’s all about ‘me and Jesus, going to heaven and avoiding hell’ and counting it as sufficient. I suspect it’s not. Having only a transactional relationship with God doesn’t lead to the fullness of the transformative experience that is promised by Jesus. Transformation is both an inward journey and an outward expression. There are times when that expression needs to be spurred on by leaders willing to speak with a prophetic edge.
Richard Rohr wrote recently: “Personal salvation cannot be divorced from social and systemic implications.” Amen.
7.To live in this world,
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go. ~ Mary Oliver
8.The Federal workers we are holding hostage are getting played. It’s sinful and unnecessary.
9. More than a few times this week I found myself becoming the enemy of my own good intentions. It’s the usual culprits at work. Snarkiness, a failure to listen, defensiveness, and pride. Lord have mercy.
The event involving the high school students and the Native American Elder sparked something in me. I reacted strongly and quickly. Oh, I did read a number of articles before I reacted but I wish I would have waited a bit longer. The words of the Desert Father Arsenius come to mind: “I have often repented of having spoken but never of having remained silent.” Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
I also wish (I’m not assuming you have the same wish list) that the Black Hebrew Israelites hadn’t taunted anyone, that the students had just ignored them, that the Native American Elder had explained what he was attempting to do, that the students would have backed off, walked away, and shut up, that the chaperones would have acted like chaperones should, and that the MAGA hats had been left home and in a drawer. If only, huh? But those things didn’t happen.
So what do we do with it all? As always we need to start with those things we have control over. We need to examine our own responses, our motivations, and our own sinfulness. At this particular time we should look for opportunities to build bridges and to grow in our understanding of the ‘other’ and we should pray that confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation emerges from all this. That would please God.
10.I think anything short of amnesty and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers is cruel and unusual punishment.